Thrift stores are always a great place to go in order to find stock but when you’re visiting the same ones week to week, the selection can get kind of stale.
You have to get creative in finding inventory and there are lots of opportunities for sourcing out there, if you know how to find it.
The above photo is from one haul, I’ll tell you more about it down below.
One thing to keep in mind while your sourcing, especially if you use my tips, be respectful. A lot of these locations are set up for people who are in need within the community. And while your payment helps the location putting on the sale, you’re also removing opportunities from low income people in the area from being able to pick up items they may need that they couldn’t otherwise afford. So don’t be greedy!
Thinking Outside the Thrift Store, Where to Source:
- Church Rummage Sales: I LOVE rummage sales. I find so much weird vintage at these sales. It’s perfect for my Depop shop. I don’t know what it is about them but they just attract the craziest donations. I try to attend these on the last day at the very end of the sale, yeah, I’ll miss out on any potential higher end pieces but I won’t have to sort through as much stuff to find vintage gold. Also, most places have a bag sale at the end. I’ve gone to one where you can fill a trash bag for $2! I left with three and all of it was vintage.How do you find these rummage sales? Keep an eye out while driving around, check Facebook, craigslist but also don’t be afraid to ask around. A lot of these places have rummage sales twice a year – in the spring and fall and it’s yearly so people in the community will have all of the details. When in doubt, call area churches. Don’t pass up churches in rural areas. These are goldmines for vintage! One of my favorite trips was visiting a rummage sale at a church that smelled of cow manure – I scored some AMAZING vintage jewelry. And a homemade key lime pie for my fiance for $4.
Another reason I go at the end is rummage sales are usually attended by low income families who are trying to outfit their children on the cheap. So if I go at the very end, I’m less likely to step on the toes of those who really need it. This is important to me as I grew up incredibly poor.
- Church Charity Shops: This is another gem. One of my favorite places is in a small little hamlet and it’s run by an elderly lady who is the absolute sweetest! It’s also well organized. You tend to spend a little bit more than you would at a rummage sale but typically these items have been examined better and you’re less likely to get items that have stains or holes.A lot of charity shops are run by the little old ladies of the church so they aren’t usually the most tech savvy, which means you’re less likely to find them on social media. This is where networking and word of mouth comes in. When you go to rummage sales, ask the volunteers if they have a charity shop. Even if they don’t, I guarantee you they will give you a list of several in the area.
- Auctions: We have a local site that lists all of the local auctions but I realize not everyone is so lucky. You may have to do some google keyword searching to find auctions in your area but trust me, doing so will pay off.Recently I discovered an auction site because I was researching something for personal information. And boy, was I glad I did! I was researching the price sold on a piece of land and while doing so discovered that there was an amazing estate auction of a woman who not only loved to shop but also had great taste. he auction featured designer bags, gold jewelry, diamonds and hundreds of pieces of plus size clothing, new with tags. Being plus size myself, I couldn’t pass it up. I checked when it was going to end – the next morning!
I acted fast, submitted my tax exemption paperwork and got to work researching all of the lots I was interested in. In the end I came away with 850 pieces of clothing, 46 designer bags, wristlets and wallets, 150 scarves and a small bin full of jewelry. I spent a total of $1700 between the auction and renting a u-haul and we estimate we will make over $12,000 when everything sells off.
Auctions are a great way to find pieces you’ll never find thrifting – designer pieces, gold and diamond jewelry, high end vintage, etc. And don’t be afraid to travel! Some of the best auctions I’ve ever gone to were two hours away and definitely worth the drive!
- Facebook Marketplace: I don’t source off of facebook, I’m just not good at it. But my partner, she’s amazing at it. She can find vintage furs and get a whole lot of them for $25. I just don’t know how she does it so I can’t really give you a lot of tips. But it’s definitely worth learning how to do it. Just don’t be afraid to negotiate on prices!
- Storage Unit Auctions: YEP! These are so much fun! It’s kind of like buying a mystery box bundle because you have absolutely no idea what you’re going to get.We’ve purchased one so far and plan to bid on more in the future when space allows for it. We ended up getting a unit for a steal at $20 because it all just looked like junk and no one wanted to deal with it. But we saw clothing, which is what we were searching for. So for $20 we took the risk.
Turns out our risk paid off! It was a lot of hard work because we had to haul a lot of the stuff out of there but we came away with about 120 pieces of plus size clothing, some jewelry, including gold and silver, a brand new barbecue grill (which we use all of the time) and a ton of office supplies. There was a lot of trash, which we had to pay $135 to have hauled away and we did end up donating a lot of stuff, but in the end, that $155 investment should net us at least $1500. Not too bad for a days worth of work!
Do you have any other places you like to source from besides thrift stores and garage sales? Share them in the comments!